Kathy’s Home & Garden Tips – More Cleaning Hacks

With many of us using our small coffee grinders for whole spices, cleaning them between uses is a bit difficult. Getting rid of the smell can be even more so! Grind a large handful of uncooked white rice until it’s completely powdered. It removes all smells and particles.

Leather furniture gets scratches and worn spots. Rub with a little like-colored shoe polish. Make sure to rub well and wipe off all excess. Microfiber furniture can be easily cleaned with a little rubbing alcohol. Put some in a spray bottle and spray the stain. Rub lightly with a clean sponge and blot with a clean cotton towel. When dry, brush lightly to bring up the nap.

Citrus and salt are both great cleaning agents and can disinfect and deodorize too. Sprinkle kosher salt on your cutting board. Scrub with the cut end of a lemon while squeezing out the juice. Let sit for a few minutes then rinse. Bathtub rings will be gone in a flash with cut grapefruit halves sprinkled with kosher salt. 

Baking soda and vinegar are great for burned on messes. Pour ½ cup vinegar in the bottom of the oven. Sprinkle with baking soda, let fizzle for several minutes. Wipe clean with a sponge and green scrubber. For a pan with burned on food, heat two cups vinegar to boiling. Take off heat and add two tablespoons baking soda. Let sit a while, then wipe clean.

Baking soda also works with bleach. Wet dirty tile and grout with straight bleach. Sprinkle with baking soda. Scrub with a stiff brush and let sit till clean. You can clean it off by letting it dry, then vacuuming up the residue. Clean completely with a damp cotton cloth.

Crumpled foil works as a great scrubber. Clean your iron with foil and salt. Do you have a curling iron full of product residue? Use foil to clean. Or, use a foil ball and a little dish soap to clean glass dishes and casseroles.

Wet shoes? Fill with crumpled newspapers to dry quickly and keep their shape. Use toothpaste to clean jewelry! Be sure to use sparingly and scrub gently with an old toothbrush. Use another old, clean toothbrush to clean keyboards. Use shampoo to clean your hair brushes.

Pick up broken glass shards with a piece of white bread. Clean dog hair from the carpet with a squeegee. Sprinkle baking soda on greasy carpet stains. Brush in, let set then vacuum. Use coffee filters to dust all your device screens. To clean the microwave, heat ½ cup water with a few drops dish liquid. Then, wipe clean for a sparkling microwave with no vinegar smell!

KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO

9 Things to Think About Before Listing Your Home on Airbnb

If you own a property that is vacant for at least part of the year, you might be able to make some good money by renting it out as a vacation rental on sites like Airbnb. But while there is certainly some profit potential associated with using a service like Airbnb, there are a number of considerations that should be made first before you open your doors to the masses.

Here are some important things to consider before you list your property on Airbnb.

1. Safety Comes First

You obviously want to make some extra cash by opening up your home to guests through Airbnb, but it’s absolutely critical that you thoroughly screen guests before you hand them the keys. Safety should always come first, especially when you allow complete strangers to take up residence in your home for a brief period of time.

You might be excited to get an interested party, but don’t be afraid to turn them down if anything seems a little unsettling about them. Be sure to put potential guests through a screening process. You might insist on having guests provide a copy of government-issued ID or only agree to take guests who have a certain number of positive reviews from other hosts. Whatever your particular process may be, make sure it’s thorough enough to prevent any sketchy individuals from occupying your home.

2. It Takes Time

You will need to dedicate a certain amount of time to your Airbnb listing, so make sure you’ve got a few hours to spare each week for this purpose. You’ll need to take calls, respond to emails, screen potential guests, prepare contracts, deal with emergencies, and clean the property between each guest. Make sure that you have the time to commit to hosting an Airbnb before you decide to put your property up for rent.

Of course, you can always hire a property management company to handle all of these time-consuming tasks for you, but that will eat into your profits, which can be a problem if you’re just barely making any money from this endeavor.

3. Insurance Will be Required

Letting strangers occupy your property is a risk, not just safety wise but also in terms of theft and liability. You could unknowingly allow a guest in who ends up stealing from you or damaging the property. You could also be faced with a situation whereby a guest hurts themselves on your property.

There are so many different situations that can arise that can put you at legal and financial risk, and the best way to protect yourself is by having the appropriate insurance policy in place. You might have homeowner’s insurance already, but it will likely be limited. Look into Airbnb liability insurance coverage to minimize your risks.

4. You’ll Need to Revisit Your Listing Price Regularly

It’s a good idea to see what the comparable properties in your area are being listed at on Airbnb so you can establish a competitive price. The price is one of the most important factors involved in being successful on Airbnb, so it’s essential to get the price right.

But once you establish an appropriate price, that doesn’t mean you can just set it and forget it. The price will need to be revisited every so often, especially as the market changes.

5. Your Neighbors Might Have a Problem With it

As you can imagine, some homeowners might have a problem with having a slew of different people set up shop in the neighborhood every few days. As such, many communities across the country have petitioned local city councils to restrict or even ban Airbnbs in the area. Make sure to find out whether your particular area has any current petitions against Airbnb listings. If so, you may want to tread lightly and decide if all the trouble is worth it.

6. You Might Not Be Allowed to List Your Place

Not only can neighbors give you a hard time about renting out your home on Airbnb, but you might not even be legally permitted to do so, especially if you currently rent. Many leases clearly stipulate that sub-leasing is strictly forbidden, and collecting rent from guests through Airbnb certainly falls under this category.

If you rent your unit, it is critical that you discuss your intentions to list on Airbnb with your landlord beforehand. If your rental unit is in a condominium, you will also need to get approval from the HOA before listing.

7. Extra Expenses Should Be Budgeted For

You may be collecting a rental fee from each guest that you host, but there are expenses that will deduct from your profits. Being a host on Airbnb will come with several costs, such as cleaning fees, repairs, and even Airbnb’s service fee.

8. There Are Laws You’ll Need to Understand

You’re responsible for finding out what the regulations are in your city and act accordingly. Some Airbnb hosts have faced hefty fines for renting their units that are not according to local law. For instance, there may be certain zoning laws that need to be followed that could deem your property a rooming house or even a bed and breakfast. If your zoning laws do not allow for such properties in your neighborhood, you could be slapped with a fine.

9. Uncle Sam Will Want a Cut of Your Earnings

Any profits that you make from renting your property will have to be reported to the IRS come tax time. That said, you should be able to claim any expenses against it in order to minimize the amount of taxes you will responsible for paying.

The Bottom Line

You definitely stand to make some extra money by renting out your property on Airbnb and other vacation rental sites like it. But it’s not as simple as listing your property and collecting rent checks. There are some important considerations that should be made before you embark on this journey in order to ensure you’re making an informed decision.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – SUN JOINS IN ON OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES!

There are plenty of outdoor, as well as some indoor, activities planned for this weekend in Chicago including Earth Day on Sunday!  It’s a good thing the sun will be joining us!!

The longest running cancer fundraiser Walk & Roll hosted by the American Cancer Society for the past 46 years returns to Soldier Field (1410 S. Museum Campus Dr.) in the South Loop this Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  This one-of-a-kind event offers participants a walk or run (5K), a skate (10K), or biking (15K) to raise funds and save lives from all cancers!  Come out and honor cancer survivors and caregivers, as well as enjoy a day of family-friendly activities!!  New this year is the Garden of Hope where you can dedicate a pinwheel flower to a lost loved one, someone currently battling, or anyone who has overcome cancer.

Also taking place this Saturday (9:00 a.m.) is the Wintrust Lakefront 10 Miler and 5K at Montrose Beach (4400 N. Lake Shore Dr.) in the Uptown neighborhood.  Participants choose their distance to race, run, jog, or walk their way to a great finish.  The route is primarily within Lincoln Park and along sections of Chicago’s lakefront trail with incredible views of Lake Michigan and the city’s skyline.  Participants will receive a reflective tech hoody, a finisher medal, and a goody bag.  Afterwards, it’s time to celebrate with Lagunitas beer, food, and music!

Then, Sunday brings the 5T5K Chicago Breakthrough for Brain Tumors Run & Walk to Soldier Field (1410 S. Museum Campus Dr.) in the South Loop.  Come out and support the American Brain Tumor Association in their efforts to fund desperately needed brain tumor research, patient programs, and support services for those diagnosed with brain tumors.  Opening ceremonies begin at 9:00 a.m., run followed by walkers begins at 9:30 a.m., and closing remarks are at 10:30 a.m.  Their goal this year is to raise $870,000!

In honor of Earth Day, head out to Brookfield Zoo (8400 W. 31st St.) in Brookfield for their annual Party for the Plant this Sunday.  This fun-filled family event features green-themed craft activities, helping staff plant flowers and trees, visits with representatives at the Eco Expo, and special Zoo Chats!  It’s a day to learn about the different ways you can make Earth-friendly choices such as conserving energy and recycling to have a positive impact on the planet!!  Also, several recycling organizations will be onsite collecting items from zoogoers.  For more information and a full list of recyclable items, click the link above.

Vintage Garage Chicago Season Opener kicks off their 7th season this Sunday (10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) at 5051 N. Broadway Street in the Uptown neighborhood.  Over 100 vendors of all things vintage will fill two floors with vintage furniture, mid-century, vintage clothing, jewelry, old signs, vinyl records, vintage home décor, and so much more!  It’s their biggest show of the year!!

The Chocolate, Wine & Spirits Fest comes to the red hot West Loop neighborhood this Saturday (11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.) and Sunday (11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) at the Stephen M. Bailey Auditorium (1340 W. Washington Blvd.).  Over 50 vendors will be displaying their products for you to sample and purchase.  Highlights of this event include meeting the artisans, sampling artisan chocolates and foods, a benefit wine & spirits tasting (net proceeds benefit Holiday Heroes who bring holiday joy to hospitalized children), and demonstrations & pairings.  You’ll even receive complimentary admission to the companion Chicago Coffee & Tea Expo!   Go ahead and enjoy a sweet, fun-filled day!!

Don’t Forget Your Shades & Sunscreen!

CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS: Bucktown and Wicker Park, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Edgewater, Lincoln Square, Evanston

Bucktown and Wicker Park: With the weather finally getting warm here in Chicago, it’s time to break out those running shoes! Join the 606 Running Club for their Tuesday Weekly Run. Every Tuesday evening, you’ll meet up for a 3.5 mile run, breaking out into different distance and pacing groups. The group meets at the corner of Damen & Wicker Park at 6:30 pm (the north-most corner of Wicker Park). Afterwards, head over to the post run re-hydration location Easy Bar (on Divison and Damen) for $2 and $3 beer specials- make sure to bring your ID! No need to pay or register- this event is totally free. Check out more information here!

Lincoln Park: Join the Lincoln Park Conservancy for the 11th Annual Gala for Lincoln Park. By attending this signature event, you’ll be supporting the Lincoln Park Conservancy, which is the only non-profit organization that manages, maintains, and improves the historic buildings, monuments, natural areas, gardens, and playlots throughout Lincoln Park. This fabulous gala is Saturday, April 28 from 6:30 to 11 pm. The evening includes cocktails, appetizers, dinner, dancing, and both a live and silent auction, accompanied by the wonderful music of the Stitley Orchestra. The MC for the evening is Joe O’Neil, Senior Director of Ticket Operations for the Chicago Bulls. Find more information and buy your tickets here.

Lakeview: Mark your calendars for Friday, April 27! 20X2 Chicago is here! 20X2 is an ongoing project that exists to showcase the creativity that lurks within each of us. Writers, musicians, filmmakers, and web geeks are featured and asked to take two minutes to answer the question of the day. This edition’s question is “Where do we start?” Doors open at 6:30 and the show starts at 7 pm. The show is at Schuba’s (3159 N Southport). Tickets are $10 online or at the door and the show is appropriate for all ages. Find more information about the featured speakers here.

Edgewater: Join Women & Children First for a night of conversation with acclaimed author Meg Wolitzer. She’ll be in conversation with WBEZ’s Greta Johnson. The event is this Tuesday, April 24 at 7 pm and is free to attend. The event is to celebrate Meg Wolitzer’s new novel, The Female Persuasion. Find more information about this exciting event here!

Lincoln Square: It’s that time of year again! The Lincoln Square Wine Stroll is here! This bi-annual event transforms the retail establishments and restaurants of Lincoln Square into wine tasting destinations. This Thursday, April 26, from 6:30 to 9:30 pm, you’ll have 5 routes to choose from- three in Lincoln Square and two in Ravenswood. Over 45 businesses participate in each stroll, pairing red and white samples with delicious appetizers from local restaurants. This is a rain or shine event and all attendees must be 21 years of age or older. Wine pours are offered in 2 ounce pours at each location. Tickets are between $30 and $45, depending on which route you choose. Routes are already selling out, so get your tickets here now!

Evanston: Are you a trivia fan? Get yourself up to Evanston for a very special Marvel Trivia night, hosted by Geeks Who Drink! The fun begins this Saturday, April 21 at 3 pm at World Of Beer (1601 Sherman Ave). The vast majority of the quiz will cover the Marvel Cinematic Universe- the 18 feature length films released by Marvel thus far. However, quiz masters reserve the right to ask about the associated TV shows, short films, etc., so brush up on your  complete Marvel knowledge! Admission is $5 per person and the winners will take home a cash prize! Teams are limited to six people and the use of cell phones is strictly prohibited. Teams must register in advance by using this link. To find more information about this awesome event, check out the Facebook page.

RACHEL HOOVLER & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO

Restaurant Review – Brazilian Bowl


I’m always looking for healthy food on the go! And it’s always a bonus when it’s something different and unique. This week took me to Brazilian Bowl. Brazilian Bowl is a fast casual, counter service restaurant with two locations: one in Lakeview and one in Albany Park. We went to the location in Lakeview. The restaurant is small, with a limited number of tables. We came in on a Saturday afternoon around 1 o’clock and it was packed! Since we planned to take our lunch to go, we knew we wouldn’t need a table and hopped in line. It only took about ten minutes for us to get up to the counter- not bad considering how many people were in the place! The menu is large with a number of categories including bowls, burritos, salads, empanadas, sides, juices and smoothies, desserts, and more. My friend decided to order a Steak Bowl. The bowl is packed with seasoned rice, grilled vegetables, Brazilian pico de gallo, cheese, sautéed kale, lettuce, corn, Brazilian sauce, and a choice of beans. He chose black beans and added hot sauce. You can also add guacamole or extra meat, for $2.25 and $2.95 respectively. The bowl is gigantic- for just $8.95, I was super impressed with the portion size. He said it was delicious! The meat was perfectly spiced and grilled and the numerous veggies were tasty and very filing. I ordered the Turkey and Pineapple Salad: a huge bed of romaine lettuce topped with roasted turkey, Brazilian pico de gallo, corn, and grilled pineapple, topped with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I’m not normally a big fan of turkey, but this was very very good. I really enjoyed the corn and pineapple, they added sweetness and depth to the salad. I will most definitely be back! There were so many other items on the menu that caught my eye, I’ve got to go back and try them.

The Lakeview location is at 3204 N Broadway and the Albany Park location is at 3200 W Lawrence. Lakeview hours are Mondays through Saturdays from 11 am to 10 pm and Sundays from 11 am to 9 pm. Albany Park is open daily from 11 am to 9 pm. Brazilian Bowl is also available for takeout and delivery. Find more information on their website.

RACHEL HOOVLER & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO

Kathy’s Home & Garden Tips – Pollinators to Plant in your Yard

Bring beneficial bees, butterflies, and birds to your garden by growing flowers and plants that they love. We can do our part to provide plants that will feed and shelter these wonderful species. We have all heard about the disappearance of some bee and butterfly species. These are necessary for food production on the planet and will pollinate our little corner of the world.

Native plants are the best to attract pollinators. Use annuals and perennials to provide blooms and seeds all throughout the season. Perennials like Butterfly Weed, Bee Balm, and Butterfly Bush provide bee and butterfly attracting flowers all summer. Annuals like Asters, Salvia, Lavender, and Sunflowers attract bees with their riotous color. They need more than flowers though, so provide a mix of shrubs, trees, grasses, and vines too. These provide shelter as well as food. Practice organic gardening and never use chemicals on plants meant for butterflies, bees, and birds.

Butterflies are very color orientated. They prefer purple, yellow, pink, orange, and red. Plant in bunches to be found easily. They like tubular cluster and flat top blooms. You will also need to provide the caterpillars shelter. You may end up with some tattered leaves from hungry caterpillars but it’s worth it for some beautiful and useful butterflies. Plant extras to hide the damage if necessary.  If you can leave a weedy patch or two, monarch caterpillars only feed on milkweed plants; other types eat grass, thistle, clover, and leaves.

Bees like areas that are natural, overgrown, and even weedy, so let it go! Resist the urge to have everything be perfectly neat. Again, native species are the best choice for bees. Color preferences are yellows, purples, and blues. As with butterflies, have ever blooming plants to ensure season-long nectar and pollen.

Birds are excellent pollinators and carry pollen on their heads and wings to spread around the garden. You can attract birds with good quality seed mix. Planting nut and seed producers also brings the birds to your yard. Don’t deadhead everything. Let some go to seed, especially in the fall to provide food over winter.

All pollinators appreciate fresh water year- round. Keep the birdbath clean and filled with fresh water. A few flat rocks in a sunny spot provide a place for butterflies to bask in the sun. Flowers that are very fragrant and white or pale yellow in color will attract night feeding moths.

KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO

Are Adjustable-Rate Mortgages Too Risky?

If you’re taking out a mortgage on a home, you’ll be stuck paying interest on top of the initial loan that you take out. The lower the interest rate, the less you’ll be paying towards interest overall, which is why it’s always best to try to get the lowest rate possible on a home loan.

The promise of a lower interest rate will certainly capture the attention of borrowers, and adjustable-rate mortgages typically offer lower rates compared to fixed-rate mortgages, at least for the first little while. But adjustable-rate mortgages are also known to fluctuate throughout the life of a home loan. While you might be promised a lower rate during an initial time period, that rate can easily go up at some point.

Given this fact, is an adjustable-rate mortgage too much of a risk to consider?

What is an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage?

Adjustable-rate mortgages involve monthly mortgage payments that can move up and down as the interest rate fluctuates. The majority of adjustable-rate mortgages offer an initial time period whereby the rate is fixed, which means the rate doesn’t change during this time.

Once this initial period ends, it will be followed by a longer time frame where the interest rate will change at specific intervals. During this time, the rate will fluctuate along with the index (of which there are many), which is a rate determined by market forces.

The rate associated with an adjustable-rate mortgage is calculated by adding the index rate with the “margin,” which is a percentage rate that can be negotiated with the lender. The margin never changes once it’s been agreed upon, but the index does, which is why the rate will typically be higher or lower at preset intervals.

How High Can Interest Rates Go?

Some buyers may be concerned about the fluctuation of interest rates with adjustable-rate mortgages, which is a valid concern. Rates certainly do go up and down, as is the nature of this type of loan product. But that doesn’t mean the rate can go sky-high with no rhyme or reason to its soaring increase.

In order to prevent interest rates from getting out of control, a “rate cap” is put in place. The purpose of a rate cap with adjustable-rate mortgages is to reduce overall interest costs and limit the amount that the interest rate can increase.

Three different types of rate caps exist to help control interest rates and protect borrowers. The initial adjustment cap determines how much the interest rate can rise after the first adjustment when the fixed-rate period ends. The subsequent adjustment cap determines how much the interest rate can rise in the adjustment time periods following the initial rate adjustment, while the lifetime adjustment cap determines how much the interest rate can rise over the life of the mortgage.

These rate caps help keep rates somewhat under control so they can’t arbitrarily skyrocket for no reason.

Some Adjustable-Rate Mortgages Are Riskier Than Others

The thought of interest rates increasing after the initial fixed-rate period can sound a little unsettling, but there are certain types of adjustable-rate mortgages that can be riskier than others.

Mortgages that incorporate negative amortization – also referred to as “payment option” adjustable-rate mortgages – can be tricky if you’re not careful with them. These types of loan arrangements involve minimum monthly mortgage payments that might not include the entire interest amount. As such, they’re typically more affordable because you’re not obligated to pay the full interest portion.

The part where things get tricky is when you eventually have to repay that interest amount. Any unpaid interest will be added to your principal balance, which means you will have to pay more on your overall mortgage, regardless of whether or not you’ve been making your monthly payments on time.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgages Best Suited For Specific Borrowers and Markets

The idea of paying less in interest – albeit for a temporary amount of time – sounds attractive. In fact, adjustable-rate mortgages can help borrowers keep more money in their pockets thanks to lower rates. But these types of home loans aren’t for everyone, nor would they be ideal for certain markets.

Adjustable-rate mortgages are better suited for those who only plan to stay in their home for a short while. If you are planning to live in your home for less than five years, this type of mortgage arrangement might be less risky for you. That’s because you’ll be refinancing or getting rid of your mortgage before the fixed-rate period ends (or soon after), which means you won’t be vulnerable to any sudden increases in mortgage payments when it’s time for the rate to be adjusted.

In fact, these types of home loans are ideal for those who plan to sell in the near future because it allows them to take advantage of lower rates and save a great deal of money on interest before they sell.

On the other hand, those who plan to stay put in their homes for the long haul will be more vulnerable to rate fluctuations. If the market is predicted to favor a sharp increase in interest rates in the near future, you could be vulnerable to rate increases after the initial fixed-rate period ends. If you don’t have the budget to accommodate for such an increase, you could find yourself having trouble managing your mortgage payments.

However, if rates are expected to decrease at some point in the near future, an adjustable-rate mortgage can help you take advantage of a lower rate rather than being locked into a higher rate with a fixed-rate mortgage.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, adjustable-rate mortgages are only risky if the markets dictate a rate hike in the near future and you don’t have the financial cushion to accommodate higher mortgage payments. Before you decide to take out an adjustable-rate mortgage, you’d be well advised to speak with a seasoned mortgage broker in great detail. Based on your future plans, your financial situation, and the current and future market, you’ll be better able to decide if an adjustable-rate mortgage is risky or not for you.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – CREATING OUR OWN SPRING!

What does one do with their weekend when Mother Nature doesn’t want to cooperate!  Doesn’t she know it’s April?  Doesn’t she know baseball season has started?  Well, Chicagoans will just create their own spring!!

Enjoy a day of fitness activities and healthy snacks at Rally HealthFest on Saturday (10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.) at Maggie Daley Park (337 E. Randolph St.) in The Loop.  Hosted by actor/comedian Kevin Hart and TV/radio personality Maria Menounos, this free, family-friendly event celebrates “Move More Month” with a one-mile walk around the Ribbon, group exercises with Kevin’s personal trainer Ron “Boss” Everline, a Kids’ Zone with sack races and so much more!  It’s a great way to shed winter for the upcoming summer season!!

Enjoy an afternoon of fun and festivities in support of Saturday Place (an educational enrichment organization benefitting 3rd & 4th grade CPS students) at Chef Bowl 2018 on Sunday (2:00 p.m.) at King’s Bowl (1500 N. Clybourn Ave., #102) in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.  This event is hosted by former Chicago Bear Rashied Davis and brings together some of Chicago’s hottest chefs for samplings of King’s renowned made-from-scratch menu.  This year’s event chair is Tony Prioli of Piccolo Sogno, Nonnina and Maillard Tavern!  Guests can also score autographs from their favorite chef and sports celebrities during the event by purchasing a commemorative bowling pin onsite at Kings!!

Come out and bowl for homeless animals of Alive Rescue at their 10th Annual Pet Bowl at Timber Lanes Bowling Center (1851 W. Irving Park Rd.) in the North Center neighborhood.  Your admission includes 1½ hours of bowling, shoe rental, a DJ, a photo booth, a vegetarian/vegan food buffet and dessert.  The evening is divided into two bowling shifts:  9:00 p.m.-10:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.  And, this year, they’ve added a live auction with some incredible items and raffle prizes being awarded throughout the evening!  A fun-filled night is in store for you!!

Happy Sweet 16 to the 2018 CHIRP Record Fair and Other Delights taking place Saturday (8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.) at Journeymen Plumbers Hall (1340 W. Washington Blvd.) on the Near West Side.  Over 100 tables on two floors will display new and used LPs, 45s, CDs, DVDs, poster, music-related goodness and more.  In addition, the lower level will be filled with great food, beer, live music, and multiple other delights!  It’s truly a music collector’s paradise!!

In honor of National Cheese Month, Say Cheese Fest 2018 returns to Concord Fifty-Five (1355 W. Concord Pl.) in the Noble Square neighborhood on Sunday (11:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.).  This social event brings together restaurants and retailers serving up their cheesiest products such as mac & cheese, cheesy potatoes, Philly cheesesteaks, cheese pizza, crostini, Eli’s cheesecake, cheese quesadillas and much more!  If you believe cheese is a gift from above to be treasured and celebrated, then you simply cannot miss this event!!

So, Will You Be Creating Your Own Spring or Hibernating?

How Much Home Do You Actually Need?

Among all the factors that need to be considered when buying a home, size is obviously one of the more important ones. After all, you want to make sure you’ve got enough space for your needs, but you also don’t want to pay for more square footage than you have to.

So, the question is, how much space do you really need?

Here are some considerations to make to help you accurately answer that question.

What Will Your Family Look Like in the Future?

If you’re currently single, what are the odds of finding a partner to share your home with you in the near future? If you’re already married, will you be starting a family sometime soon? How many kids do you think you’ll have? Will there be any more pets in the picture that need space to run around?

While it can be nearly impossible to accurately answer these questions, having some sort of idea will help you determine the amount of space you might need in the future.

Of course, these questions are more relevant if the home you plan to buy is your “forever home.” If you’re just looking for a starter home to use as a stepping stone to get into the real estate market, you can always upsize down the road when the number of family members (pets included!) increases.

How Will You Be Using Your Space?

Your lifestyle is a crucial factor to consider when choosing a home of a certain size. Consider how you will be using your space and how you want your home to accommodate your lifestyle.

For instance, do you frequently have large parties? Is your home the usual gathering place for the holidays? Do you often host overnight guests? Do you have any hobbies that require a lot of room? If you can justify the purchase of a larger home, then it may be worth serious consideration.

But what if you’re low-key and prefer to spend your time at home reading a book? What if you’re hardly ever home because of work or travels? Be honest with yourself about exactly how space will be used. Deciding how much room you actually need before you buy a home starts with an in-depth and accurate assessment of your lifestyle and what role your home plays in it.

How Much Time Can You Dedicate to Maintenance?

Bigger homes usually mean more space to clean. That includes more vacuuming, window cleaning, dusting, and even yard work if the lot is also oversized. Of course, if you need all that space, then a big home might be required. But maintenance should certainly be something to consider when buying a home of a certain size. Even if you hire someone else to take care of all the cleaning for you, that’ll come at a cost.

How Much Privacy Do You Want?

If you live by yourself, you’ve got all the privacy in the world, regardless of how big or small your home is. But if there are other family members sharing the same space, you might want to think about how much privacy you’ll be getting from each other.

If you’re the type who seeks privacy even from your own family members, you may want to consider a larger home. A property that’s on the small side might not give you all the privacy you crave if it’s not laid out appropriately.

Would the Layout of the Home Make a Difference?

Some homes that are short on square footage still feel rather spacious thanks to the savvy floor plan laid out. By the same token, large homes can actually feel small if there isn’t a lot of light or if it the layout is sub-par. When you’re looking around for a new house, keep the floor plan in mind in addition to the actual square footage before deciding that a bigger house is the better way to go.

How Easy Will it Be to Sell in Future? 

Look around at all the homes on the block. The home you buy should be somewhat in line with what the neighborhood calls for. An oversized home on a street full of much smaller homes might not be easy to sell if you ever choose to move in the future. The same can be said for smaller homes that are overshadowed by much larger homes on the block.

Ideally, you want to buy a home that offers some resale promise. While thinking about selling before you’ve even bought anything might sound silly, it’s a valid consideration to make. Anything can happen in the future, and you don’t want to find yourself stuck with a home that’s a tough sell.

The Bottom Line

Many factors come into play when deciding on the right size home to buy. Your lifestyle, needs, budget, and future plans will all play key roles in your ultimate decision.

Buying a smaller home to save on maintenance and money might leave you with an inadequate space. On the other hand, purchasing a large property just because you believe you need more room than you really require could leave you spending and cleaning more than necessary. Spend some time thinking about all the factors involved in your decision about how much home you truly need before making such a significant purchase.